The current president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko announced the closure of the borders with Lithuania and Poland, as well as the "strengthening of borders" with Ukraine, RIA Novosti reports.
"We don't know what they're going to throw at us next. We understand that there are few tricks left in their arsenal before they begin a hot war. I have to work with the Russian President and the Minister of Defense to rebuild the common defense of the union state for the last few days," Lukashenko said. Lukashenko did not explain how he intends to "rebuild the common defense" with Russia.
Lithuanian and Polish border guards denied the Belarusian leader's words, claiming that they do not have any information about the border closure. According to them, the tarffic in both directions is going as usual.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov also commented on Lukashenko's statement. "Lukashenko seems to have completely gone mad with his power and paranoia around it. He's talking nonsense. The texts were probably received from Putin. (...) So - drink water, Mr. Lukashenko - calm down. Ukrainians are friends of Belarusians. Do not manipulate, blaming neighbors. Look for a beam in your eye," the Ukrainian Interior Minister wrote on his Facebook page.
Alexander Lukashenko repeatedly said that the protests, which are held in Belarus from the main day of voting on August 9, are financed from abroad. According to Lukashenko, the situation in the country is developing according to the scenario of "color revolutions." On August 16, speaking at a rally in his support, he said that Western countries are increasing their military power on the borders of Belarus, and NATO troops are "rattling sabers at the gates." In response, the head of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry called Lukashenko's words a lie, and he himself called the former president of Belarus. NATO assured that the alliance does not pose a threat to Belarus.
Nevertheless, on August 22, Lukashenko reiterated the "serious movement of NATO troops" near the borders of Belarus, Poland and Lithuania. In this regard, he decided to put the armed forces on full alert and ordered to respond without warning to the actions of those who violate the country’s borders.
On August 23, when another mass rally of the opposition was held in Minsk (independent Belarusian media estimated the number of its participants at more than 100 thousand people, and the state channel "Belarus 1" - 20 thousand), Lithuanians lined up in a "chain of solidarity" with the citizens of Belarus. It stretched from Vilnius to the village of Medininkai, located near the border with Belarus, 50,000 people took part in the action.